Monday, August 29, 2022

Climate Change: Labour's hopeless helplessness

Writing in the Herald, government minister Megan Woods asks what are we going to do about climate change? I don't know - what could the number four-ranked Minister in Cabinet and holder of the housing, energy and resources, building and construction, and other key ministerial portfolios possibly do to deal with this problem?

Well, for a start, she could stop handing out oil and gas exploration permits, and draw up a plan for the rapid and orderly shutdown of the fossil fuel industry in Aotearoa, to stop making things worse. She could also draw up a plan for the rapid electrification and cleanup or shutdown of polluting industries, to kill industrial emissions at source. And she could provide government funding for a rapid expansion of wind and solar generation, to drive polluting gas and coal completely out of the energy market.

She could ensure that all newly built houses are zero-energy and whereever possible have inbuilt solar generation, further reducing electricity demand. And she could impose stricter requirements on commercial and industrial buildings, while requiring older buildings to be rapidly retrofitted and upgraded.

She could ensure that the agencies under her control support rather than consistently opposing climate change action (MBIE is one of the worst offenders here, and Woods could end that with a sharp word to its CEO).

Most importantly, she could use her position as a top Minister in Labour's Cabinet to constantly push for stronger action, rather than consistently dragging her feet.

But all that would be hard work, and worse, mean change, upsetting the status quo and established interests, who might kick up a stink at the thought of having to change what they're doing to avoid destroying the world. So I guess its just much easier for her to wring her hands and say "what are we going to do" and spout twaddle about "lifting the conversation" - rather than thinking about all the things she can do. Its a perfect example of Labour's learned helplessness - and a perfect example of why they're absolutely hopeless in the face of our biggest challenge.